Planning for Change
Whether hosting a bulge class, permanently expanding the school, refurbishing tired spaces or moving into a brand new building, the opportunity to create an inspirational new space exists. Don’t leave your planning for new learning activity, arrangements, furniture and equipment too late! Instead of ordering chairs from the same stock as your current ones or buying more rectangular wooden desks because they are all your classrooms have ever had, dare to consider something new. From early on before any decisions are taken, carefully consider what learning, motivation and achievement will look and feel like for your pupils.
Once you know and have tested ideas with colleagues, teaching teams and young people, explore how new layouts and items will help achieve these goals for your pupils.
Instead of just replicating a traditional layout of thirty (plus) chairs and tables in rows, consider how individual pupil desks might offer the chance to quickly shift from individual reading to group discussion. Rather than installing tall rows of storage cupboards, imagine how a small mobile pedestal for each pupil or pair of pupils would make subject changeovers more efficient.
Before sitting the teacher at a large desk centre front, envisage how a mobile, networked tablet might free him or her up to move around the classroom. Once you start exploring the range of learning and teaching activity that can take place when you’re no longer constrained by heavy, old, fixed furniture pieces, a new world of the true learning room will open before you.